Open Mind Open Mic

Something funny is going on at the GLCC. A new monthly event, Open Mind/Open Mic, is a chance for LGBT and LGBT-friendly comedians, singers, dancers, storytellers, and poets to perform in front of a live audience.

The event, held every other Tuesday, was created and is hosted by Abby Denton, local comedian and third place winner of the Pittsburgh Improv’s Last Comic Standing 2013.

Abby, a trans woman, wanted to celebrate Pittsburgh’s artistic diversity. She said, “The event is an attempt to make a safer space for trans performers, LGB performers, performers of color, and anyone else who might not feel welcome at other mics. We want to foster new voices.”

She added, “For the time being we don’t have any formal content restrictions, but we would like to ask all performers to try to respect the theme of the space to keep us from having to institute any policies. That would just feel yucky. If you would worry about a queer grandma hearing a joke, please think twice about it.”

Comedian Ian Insect attends the open mic regularly. He said, “Reflecting on my own experiences, it only makes sense that there are performers out there who feel too intimidated by the current opportunities to really take advantage of them. When she suggested the idea, I was completely, enthusiastically sold on Abby’s concept of a safe-space variety mic.”

Ian added, “I like best that this mic even exists. It is a space for performers who wouldn’t normally have a comfortable venue.”

Anil Kumar performed stand-up comedy at the last couple of Open Mind/Open Mics. Anil said, “It’s an intimate and quieter atmosphere in which to perform, and I think this is good for working out material in a different type of setting. On both occasions, the crowd was engaged and eager to listen. It would be nice to see the event promoted further to draw in more performers and audience members.”

Abby claims an open mic event is a great place to hone your skills as a performer. She said, “Not confident in your skills? Don’t worry! Open mics are for getting better.”

The next Open Mind/Open Mic shows are March 4 and 18. Doors and registration are at 7 PM and the show starts at 7:15 PM. Although there is not a minimum donation, GLCC events ask for $2 per person. The GLCC is located at 210 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

Michael Buzzelli is a stand-up comedian and sit-down author. As a comedian, he has performed all around the country, most notably, the Ice House, the Comedy Store and the Improv in Los Angeles. As a writer, Michael Buzzelli has been published in a variety of websites, magazines and newspapers. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant,’ Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine. He is also a Moth Grand Slam storyteller and actor. His books, "Below Average Genius," a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column in the Observer-Reporter, and his romantic comedy,  “All I Want for Christmas," are on sale at Amazon.com. He is working on a LGBTQ romantic comedy called, “Why I Hate My Friends.” You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. (He / Him / His)